Censorship / Recently Commented

Facebook and YouTube Blocked in Pakistan

After the court's decision, the PTA ordered all the operators in the country to block the website, www.facebook.com, until further orders. It said the directives had been issued by the ministry of information technology and telecommunication in view of the LHC's order. All the ISPs of Pakistan have blocked access to all the hosting servers of www.facebook.com. ...all the Mobile Network Operators of BlackBerry Services in Pakistan were also trying to block access to the FaceBook.com but they could not do it because the Blackberry Services are routed through RIM... more

Hello, Australia: Please Vote These Guys Out

So I heard about this ridiculous news the other day that now Australian customs officers have been given new powers to search incoming travelers' laptops and mobile phones for pornography, according to The Age. Really? Come on. Really? First the Internet filtering, a la porn wall, and now this? more

China Won’t Repeat Protectionist Past in Digital Realm

Google may have unnecessarily provoked a fight with China, but the Middle Kingdom better keep its wits, lest it repeat a sad protectionist history. Early last millennium China was the world's richest civilization and technology leader. It famously invented gunpowder, iron casting, paper, porcelain, printing, and gigantic nine-masted sailing vessels. Between 1405 and 1433, the great Muslim Chinese explorer Zheng He led seven expeditions in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, reaching the coast of East Africa. China's naval fleet grew to 3,500 ships... more

Accidentally Importing Censorship

With advancements in hardware and software, sophisticated filtering technologies are increasingly being applied to restrict access to the Internet. This happens at the level of both governments and corporations. .. given the open nature of the trust-based Internet, one country's restrictions, if not handled very carefully, can easily foul the global Internet nest we all live in. This blog is about one such story of Internet restrictions in China becoming visible (seemingly at random) from other parts of the world and going undetected for 3 weeks. more

MIT 2010 Spam Conference Starts Tomorrow…

In January we presented the glorious history of the MIT spam conference, today we present the schedule for the first day. Opening session will be from this author, Garth Buren with a topic entitled The Internet Doomsday Book, with details be released the same day as the presentation. Followed by Dr. Robert Bruen with a review of activities since the last MIT spam conference... more

Leadership and Persuasion: Internet Freedom

Secretary Clinton's major address on internet freedom made the connection between humanity and technology. We've been waiting a long time for our political leaders to have the courage to express thoughts like this, to have a vision about the role of the internet in human history, and yesterday the day arrived. The speech wasn't an isolated event, of course. more

Google Puts Its Foot Down

Google's announcement that it will "review" its business operations in China and is no longer willing to censor its Chinese search engine, Google.cn, is generating a range of reaction in China. Conversation over at the #googlecn hashtag on Twitter -- created shortly after the announcement -- has been raging fast and furious. more

Google and China: Some General Thoughts

I have deferred blogging on the Google/China imbroglio for a few reasons. First, heavyweights such as Jonathan Zittrain have tracked International online censorship and online security issues more closely than I have. Second, after Google's provocative blog post, I wanted to see the facts develop rather than rely solely on Google's assertions. The spin doctors are now moving in, so the useful development of the factual record will be slowing down. more

China Hacks Google, Etc.

Many news sources are reporting on how Google and other corporations were hacked by China. The reports, depending on vendor, blame either PDF files via email as the original perpetrator, or lay most of the blame on an Internet Explorer 0day. more

China Tightens Internet Control in the Name of Fighting Porn, Piracy, and Cybercrime

As the year draws to a close, China's blocking of overseas websites - including Facebook, Twitter, and thousands of other websites including my blog - is more extensive and technically more sophisticated than ever. Controls over domestic content have also been tightening. People who work for Chinese Internet companies continue to complain that they remain under heavy pressure... more

Muzzled by the United Nations

The Internet Governance Forum is winding down today in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. There have been a lot of very constructive conversations in workshops and panels over the past four days about how to advance security, privacy, child protection, AND human rights and free expression on the Internet. Unfortunately, the biggest headline coming out of the forum so far has been an incident on Sunday... more

ICANN, Civil Society, and Free Speech

Gordon Crovitz's Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about the relationship between ICANN and the future of free speech quotes me a couple of times... Crovitz emailed me last week when he was researching his column. I was somewhat more critical of ICANN's status quo in our exchange than in the quotes he ended up using. Following are my full answers, emailed to him on Thursday. more

Content Filtering Ineffective, Harmful According to Public Knowledge Study

A report released today by Public Knowledge points out that their recent analysis indicates filtering Internet content, as advocated by media companies, will not be effective and in fact harmful to the Internet. An accompanying 60-page whitepaper contains the full report including a number of reasons why the user of copyright filters should not be allowed, encouraged or mandated on U.S. Internet Service Provider (ISP) networks. more

China’s Censorship Blowback

I'm not sure what the Chinese government is thinking, or whether certain parts of certain ministries and party apparatus have gotten completely out of control. Until recently, it had seemed to me that the Chinese government was managing its censorship system with surprising success... But this month, something shifted. It's unclear whether the shift is long-lasting or just temporary madness until the PRC's 60th anniversary on October 1st. more

China’s “Green Dam Youth Escort” Software

Today's Wall Street Journal has a provocative story headlined 'China Squeezes PC Makers: Beijing Is Set to Require Web Filter That Would Block Government-Censored Sites'... According to a press release dated June 8th China time, after a period of testing and evaluation, the "Green Dam Youth Escort" software received government blessing in April to be made available for free public download. The press release says that the software has been downloaded over 3 million times since the end of March and is being used by approximately 2279 schools... more